It's Never Too Soon to Go Job Hunting; UNIVERSITY IS A GREAT PLACE TO MAKE CONTACTS THAT COULD LAUNCH YOUR CAREER the First in a Two-Part Report on Networking

Article excerpt

Byline: DAN FIELDER

You have just started university and you're busy finding your feet in a new world - living away from home for the first time, meeting lots of new people and coping with lectures. But student days won't last for ever and it's never too early to start networking if you want to land a dream job.

University is a great place to start - your first key career contact could be just round the corner.

It is estimated that 70 per cent of jobs are filled through personal contacts rather than more formal recruitment channels.

Julia Calvert, 26, who took health and community studies at Bournemouth University, says: 'We were encouraged to network and think about what we wanted to do after graduation.' As a result of contacts made during her course, Julia landed a valuable work placement in her final year doing voluntary work in The Gambia.

This helped Julia land her dream job at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London as a play specialist. She works with children in a fun environment to help prepare them mentally for their treatment.

Julia, from Stratford, east London, says: 'In my area of work, you hear a lot by word of mouth and need to make your name known. I did relevant work during university holidays and would always ask for a reference.

I would also try to keep in contact with somebody from the workplace in the hope of getting a job or more advice in the future.' Networking is considered a valuable skill by the business community and students have been quick to get the message. A spokesman for the National Union of Students says: 'It's a great way to get an insider's view of the industry you want to enter. If you get to know people in the sector you're trying to break into, they will be able to tell you about any vacancies. …